It is increasingly recognised that as well as teaching academic skills, promoting student wellbeing is part of the core business of schools. One way that schools can promote students’ resilience is through the teaching of evidence-based programs that explicitly foster the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, social management and critical and creative thinking. This is referred to as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs include curricula used to explicitly teach emotional literacy, coping and problem-solving skills.
SEL involves the processes through which children and adults develop, extend and enhance the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand, manage and communicate about their own emotions, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, set and work towards positive goals, draw on a repertoire of positive coping strategies, think critically about the influences on their choices, and make responsible decisions. Collaborative games, role-plays, stories, group tasks, and class meetings or ‘circle time’ are commonly incorporated within SEL programs to enhance social connectedness and teach social and emotional competencies.